Demolition to start on eyesore building to make way for builders' merchant

The former Davenport Magic Kingdom building in Cromer Road,

The former Davenport Magic Kingdom building in Cromer Road, North Walsham, and inset, NNDC portfolio holder for sustainable growth Richard Kershaw. - Credit: Archant / Supplied

One of North Norfolk's most prominent eyesores will soon be gone.

And few will be sad to see the remains of a building which was once a museum of magic disappear. 

Approval has been granted to turn the site of the former Davenport Magic Kingdom building in Cromer Road, next to the Victory Homes building and Waitrose supermarket, into a builders' merchant complex. 

The building has been sitting empty since 2017, and planning permission for change-of-use of the building from an entertainment venue to a builders’ merchant was requested in 2021.

The former site of Davenport's Magic Kingdom in North Walsham is set to become a builders merchant.

The former site of Davenport's Magic Kingdom in North Walsham is set to become a builders merchant. - Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske

Richard Kershaw, portfolio holder for sustainable growth, said he was delighted the land - which was earlier used by Crane Fruehauf - would soon be brought back into use.

Mr Kershaw said: “It is pleasing to see planning permission granted for this application.

"The site has been an eyesore since Crane Fruehauf vacated it and it is good to see new jobs created here. The site already looks much improved with the removal of the rusting steelworks."

The former site of Davenport's Magic Kingdom in North Walsham is set to become a builders merchant.

The former site of Davenport's Magic Kingdom in North Walsham is set to become a builders merchant. - Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske

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The plans for the site include building a new warehouse, retail space, trade counter, offices and outside yard.

The new business is expected to bring between 15 and 30 jobs to the area.

There had been concerns over whether drainage on the site could be properly managed, as there have been drainage and flooding issues there in the past.

The British Magic Museum has opened in North Walsham. Picture: David Bale

Signage for the former British Magic Museum. - Credit: Archant

But a new 'drainage strategy' has sought to address that with measures including permeable surfaces, soakaway tanks and the site's existing swale, or drainage channel.

The plans are to treat and keep surface water within the site and allow it to infiltrate into the ground.

Mr Kershaw added: "I am also pleased to see that the Environment Agency has addressed and approved the drainage issues. Hopefully, we can now move on and develop the rest of the site.”

Davenport’s Magic Kingdom, which was also known as the British Magic Museum, went into administration in 2017 after a legal dispute.

The ongoing dispute with a former consultant at Davenport's Magic Kingdom resulted in a legal bill of nearly £60,000 which led to the business being unable to continue trading, according to liquidators.